Boy, if anyone's praying today, and looking for something to pray about, well, you might want to pray for the poor folks in the path of Hurricane Gustav. All the reports are saying that Hurricane Gustav is going to be worse than Hurricane Katrina.
That's pretty hard for me to imagine. I remember getting up the morning after Katrina hit, and seeing the news reports. I live in a land of dire warnings. A land where the worst is continually predicted, but never actually happens. I remember watching these news reports and being stunned, just stunned, to see that the worst had happened. My feelings that day were not so much different from the awful day I watched the endless looping of the collapse of the Twin Towers on September 11th. And now they're saying that Gustav will be
Worse. Than. Katrina.
Oh my God.
I am glad to see that the government response is different. Evacuation is mandatory. And I hope that FEMA handles the situation a little better than last time. It is a sickening thing to see great fields of FEMA trailers rotting away because the agency is not organized enough to get them to people who had (have) no place to live. I think every person in America would say, "Heck yeah. It's a darn good plan to have contingency supplies to help Americans in case of disaster." We ponied up that money, and it was used to pay for things that were never even brought out in the wake of a disaster of Katrina's epic proportion. That's wrong. There is bitterness about that down south, and I don't think that's misplaced. They sell tee-shirts down there that read: 'FEMA's Emergency Plan: Run, run, as fast as you can.' I think the people are handling things just a wee bit differently this time, as well. With the memories of Katrina still fresh in their minds, people are leaving. That is something that I could not understand last time. Even after the storm was over, people were refusing to leave. 'This is my home,' they'd say. Or 'Everything I own is right here and I'm not leaving it,' or 'I've spent my whole life here.' I have been poor before, but I have never been so poor that my hard earned stuff became more important than my life. This is not just words here, because there were actually people who starved to death with their stuff.
I sit and I watch the approach of a storm. When I go to church this morning, I know that we'll pray. And the folks who have been on the teams to rebuild (our church works in Slidell), will be wondering about about the friends they left there after each trip down, after countless hours of sweating side by side with the residents of that town as everyone pitched in to rebuild. That's all any of us can do right now. Watch and pray. The residents are fleeing once again, and the whole thing takes on a sepia colored deja vu. I hope that everyone has learned something from Katrina, and I hope that they apply what they've learned from her to dealing with Hurricane Gustav. Mostly, though, I'm praying that Gustav just blows itself out before it gets here.